Equality – The North Star for Future-Ready Workforce

While workplaces were quickly modified to adapt to the new situation, business leaders worked relentlessly to strike a balance between business models and operations only to ensure that their efforts were aligned with the new normal focusing on productivity, and employee wellbeing.


Although the Covid-19 pandemic widely changed the ways of working, many organizations used the change as an opportunity to improve productivity and growth by adopting an inclusive work culture. While workplaces were quickly modified to adapt to the new situation, business leaders worked relentlessly to strike a balance between business models and operations only to ensure that their efforts were aligned with the new normal focusing on productivity, and employee wellbeing.

Inclusive work culture embedded in the overall business strategy works as a key driver in accelerating growth and achieving organizational goals, especially during challenges like the pandemic when work dynamics are upended, and organizations are trying to bring businesses up to speed. And fueling the inclusive work culture are three factors Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion rolled into one. DEI as they are jointly called, gathered huge momentum since the pre-COVID times. They form an integral spoke in the wheel of organizational growth and success. It enables the development of a resilient, happy, and inclusive working environment in an organization.

As organizations came to terms with the new normal, issues such as employee safety and security, propagating an ‘equal opportunity for all’ mindset across the organizational hierarchy, a deeper focus on providing new and improved learning and development programs, and many more have moved to the forefront. What runs through all of them is the concept of equality and inclusion, as a fine, unbreakable thread that weaves a strong, uncrushable fabric for business success.

The emergence of the ‘Future is Equal’ philosophy: A key enabler for organizational success

For this fabric of success to remain untorn, it is imperative that the ‘future is equal’ philosophy is regarded not as a mandate, but as an essential element in the organization’s blueprint for success. It is important to maintain a holistic approach, beyond gender, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, or caste. Abilities and disabilities, age, sexual orientations, diverse backgrounds, parenthood, caring responsibilities, mental health, and wellness experiences, skills, and expertise, are other factors that equally matter. This should be understood and instilled at the leadership level and seamlessly inculcated in the culture of the organization. While organizations hire a diverse workforce, the culture, systems, and processes should enable each employee to be treated equally, and fairly. They can be seen, and heard, and be made part of all business activities, big or small. Being employee-centric, therefore, forms the foundation stone for a future-ready, value-driven organization. It has been noticed that organizations, where the element of equality is ingrained within the talent, he or she is more likely to showcase a more effectual and agile leadership and management cadre.

Working towards a more equitable work culture: Strategies adopted

Some of the major hurdles in creating a well-balanced, equal-say employee base include gender pay gaps, gender biases, inflexible work-leave norms, etc. In the present day, organizations should strive to create

a culture where equal opportunity and equal pay are the norms. By raising awareness on the gender pay gap issue and adding tools that allow managers and leaders to make better decisions around compensation changes or payments, companies should promote equality in each local context. Organizations need to lay down employee-centric policies that not only help in creating better working conditions but also instill greater confidence and faith amongst the employees in their organization. Some of the ways to do so include offering greater flexibility across all working models, career development, as well as promoting a better work-life balance. Flexibility to choose the most convenient mode of working makes an employee happy and allegiant towards the organization. In a hybrid working model, which currently numerous organizations have adopted, an employee can opt for working from home or come in a couple of days a week or return fully to physical office.

Career development is another key focus area for most progressive-thinking organizations. Flexibility in career development is also introduced by constantly evaluating people’s skills and designing effective re-/up-skilling Learning and Development (L&D) programmes to fill any skill gaps across all job functions. This opens new opportunities for employees to apply for cross-functional jobs within the organization, which aids their career growth trajectory. Having a community of mentors and role models who can help employees navigate through an organization and establish a robust support system is another vital method to help build a more effective and agile employee base.

To strike a good work-life balance a ‘Vacation Without Limits’ policy enables employees to make the right choice of when and how to take time off from work. It empowers the employees and at the same time strengthens their trust and confidence in the organization. This empowerment stems from the organization’s focus on the employees’ physical and mental wellness, giving them the flexibility of taking a break, and trusting them to be accountable towards their work commitments while doing this. Such initiatives highlight the fact that business leaders treat every employee across the hierarchy equally.

To conclude, to effectively form a more cohesive, sustainable, inclusive workforce that mirrors the organization’s present and future goals, vision, and mission, it is critical that an unbiased, value-driven, ‘equal opportunity for all’ thinking is advocated and deeply ingrained across all levels of the organizational pyramid.

(The above authored has been penned down by Lynette D'Silva, Head of Regional HR- India & APAC, Amdocs specifically for BW People publication)

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